A small church just south of Austin is hosting a dinner to “affirm” pubescent LGBTQ children.
Living Word Lutheran Church in Buda, Texas, will hold “An Affirming Afternoon” on June 4, inviting children 10 to 14 and their families to join them for dinner.
“Raising a child in the LGBTQIA+ community — or even wanting to be an affirming adult in the lives of your child’s friends — can be a challenge in today’s climate,” the event description explains. “Finding like-minded families is difficult in the drop-off line or at school events.”
“We want to help you and your child develop an affirming community, learn together, and share a meal,” the church explained. “This free event is intended for parents or guardians and their [10-14-year-old] children, but all ages and family members are welcome!”
Starting at 4:30 p.m., Living Word will be open for people to “gather, meet and greet,” then at 5 p.m., guests will have dinner and hear from a speaker. Following the speech, there will be “Activity/hangout time for children and discussion time for adults.”
Living Word openly advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ community, explaining, “We believe that, as being created in God’s image, our gender and sexuality are also part of our status as beloved children.”
“We joyfully embrace all people, and strive to be especially welcoming to those in the LGBTQIA+ community who have so often been abused by the church.”
The church supports the LGBTQ Lutheran advocacy group Reconciling Works, which “advocates for the acceptance, full participation, and liberation of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions within the Lutheran Church.”
Living Word’s Sunday Worship webpage shows the altar covered with a rainbow flag and flanked by multicolored streamers. The floor directly in front of the altar has a rug with a map of the world and depictions of people of different races and/or cultures.
The website explains, “Each Sunday, we gather in worship in song, word, prayer, and meal. Our music is led by our band, comprised of a jazz pianist, guitarists, percussion, and sometimes other strings and a flute.”
“We read from the Bible and hear a sermon. We pray together and share in Holy Communion,” the church claims.
Living Word’s pastor is Jessica Cain, who has been at the church since 2018.
Cain’s bio claims, “She firmly believes that being a pastor is about serving the congregation as well as the community, which means you may find her at city council, hanging out in local coffee shops, community events, or even at the state Capitol.”
Under her leadership, the church promoted Trans Day of Visibility, declaring on its Facebook page, “we celebrate them, and join with them in creating a world where everyone can be who they truly are.”
Child safety advocates have denounced the church, alleging that such events are a part of the “sexual revolution.”
Austin Griesinger, the policy director of the Texas Family Project, claimed, “They want to sexualize our children … TFP will keep fighting until these groomers are no longer welcome in our state,” per the Texas Scorecard.
However, Living Word suggests such events are vital, saying, “We’ve all heard the hateful, harmful Christian voices out there lately. That’s not who we are.”
“We are an affirming congregation seeking justice and equality for the LGBTQIA+ community,” it continued. “You are truly welcome!”